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Maiden Way Roman Road, Melmerby Fell from Bank Rigg northwards to Rowgill Burn

A Scheduled Monument in Kirkoswald, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.7425 / 54°44'33"N

Longitude: -2.5277 / 2°31'39"W

OS Eastings: 366125.539

OS Northings: 538743.2565

OS Grid: NY661387

Mapcode National: GBR BFSL.KQ

Mapcode Global: WH926.42L4

Entry Name: Maiden Way Roman Road, Melmerby Fell from Bank Rigg northwards to Rowgill Burn

Scheduled Date: 31 January 1973

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003053

English Heritage Legacy ID: CU 275

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Kirkoswald

Traditional County: Cumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Ousby St Luke

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes the remains of an approximately 8.5km long section of Roman road, which traverses Melmerby Fell climbing from Bank Rigg northwards to nearly 670m above sea level before dropping down to cross Rowgill Burn. The road, known as Maiden Way, extended between Kirkby Thore in the south and Carvoran on Hadrian's Wall. The monument includes a particularly well preserved section of the road. Between Rowgill Burn and where a trackway leads away to Smittergill Head, the road is visible as a cambered embankment, known as an agger, with curb stones also visible in places on the west side of the road. From this point along to Megs Cairn, long stretches of kerb stones are visible and the agger is well-preserved, as is part of a flagged road surface. From Megs Cairn to Man at Edge Quarry the road descends into the Eden Valley and the road has a well-built drystone embankment with a clear agger and kerb stones. From Man at Edge Quarry to Bank Rigg the road the agger is partially preserved and the road descends steeply towards Ardale Beck.

PastScape Monument No:- 1001823
Cumbria HER:- 3600

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Roman roads were artificially made-up routes introduced to Britain by the Roman army from c.AD 43. They facilitated both the conquest of the province and its subsequent administration. Their main purpose was to serve the Cursus Publicus, or Imperial mail service. Express messengers could travel up to 150 miles per day on the network of Roman roads throughout Britain and Europe, changing horses at wayside 'mutationes' (posting stations set every 8 miles on major roads) and stopping overnight at 'mansiones' (rest houses located every 20-25 miles). In addition, throughout the Roman period and later, Roman roads acted as commercial routes and became foci for settlement and industry. Mausolea were sometimes built flanking roads during the Roman period while, in the Anglian and medieval periods, Roman roads often served as property boundaries. Although a number of roads fell out of use soon after the withdrawal of Rome from the province in the fifth century AD, many have continued in use down to the present day and are consequently sealed beneath modern roads. On the basis of construction technique, two main types of Roman road are distinguishable. The first has widely spaced boundary ditches and a broad elaborate agger comprising several layers of graded materials. The second usually has drainage ditches and a narrow simple agger of two or three successive layers. In addition to ditches and construction pits flanking the sides of the road, features of Roman roads can include central stone ribs, kerbs and culverts, not all of which will necessarily be contemporary with the original construction of the road. With the exception of the extreme south- west of the country, Roman roads are widely distributed throughout England and extend into Wales and lowland Scotland. They are highly representative of the period of Roman administration and provide important evidence of Roman civil engineering skills as well as the pattern of Roman conquest and settlement. A high proportion of examples exhibiting good survival are considered to be worthy of protection.
Maiden Way Roman Road, Melmerby Fell from Bank Rigg northwards to Rowgill Burn
is one of the best preserved Roman roads in England and is notable for having sections of kerbstones and its flagged road surface intact. The monument is highly representative of its period and provides insight into Roman engineering and the importance of transport and communication in the Roman occupation of Britain.

Source: Historic England

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